Week 31 of Read the Bible in 2011 begins today. As the weeks roll by and the numbers get higher, if you didn’t start to read the Bible on January 1, that’s not my point. I’m posting the weeks so that you can see where I am and where I have been in these posts. You can begin right now to read the Bible.
There’s information on Michael Coley’s reading plan and also M’Cheyne’s plan at Read the Bible in 2011 in the top banner, as well as links to my previous daily posts. Some posts may be lengthier because they’re about books I’ve heard taught by my pastors, or ones I’ve studied or taught in women’s Bible studies. While I sometimes include quotes or summaries, my posts aren’t comprehensive in covering the chapters—there isn’t time or space to do that. As I post my own thoughts and reflections, I’d like for my words to whet your appetite to read and study God’s Word for yourself.
I put up a variation of this post every week for those who may not know what I’m doing when they find posts on different books of the Bible on different days of the week. On Sunday any posts on a Bible reading will be from one of the Epistles (Romans—Jude). Tuesday is the Law (Genesis—Deuteronomy), Tuesday is History (Joshua—Esther), Wednesday is in the Psalms, Thursday is Poetry (Job—Song of Solomon), Friday is Prophecy (Isaiah—Malachi, Revelation) and Saturday is the Gospels (Matthew—John). writing down some of my thoughts to encourage you to read the Bible. This is according to Michael Coley’s reading plan that mixes readings from different sections of the Bible.
Weeks 1–13 are on the Winter Quarter page under Read the Bible in 2011, and Weeks 14–26 are on the Spring Quarter page. The Summer Quarter page is now up, and Weeks 27–39 will be there. If you look you will notice some gaps. Things have been difficult the last few months, but I do want to persevere in my reading and writing. You can follow the guide of readings even when I have not yet written and posted my comments. I can’t emphasize enough to you the importance of God’s Word. God has used my reading the Bible and writing about it to give me strength and encouragement to go on in the midst of hard times. The point is not perfection, but perseverance.
If it makes your head spin to read a different book each day of the week, you might try M’Cheyne’s plan which alternates between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a Scottish minister of the early 1800s, organized what is now a classic reading plan; you read through the New Testament and Psalms twice in a year and through the other books of the Old Testament once. It’s set up with family and private devotionals each day. Adapt it as you like; you could go through the family readings before you do the private readings. Ben Edgington has numerous helpful links. This is M’Cheyne’s calendar with his introduction. You can also go straight through the Bible. The important thing is to read God’s Word daily.
Why? To withstand the storms of these difficult times we must have our lives built on the rock of truth of God’s Word. To go by our own thoughts and ways or the world’s and to let them trump God’s Word is to build our lives on a deceptive sand of lies, and our house will crash in the tempest.
Complacency towards the Bible seems to have run amuck today among many in the church. Despite lip service to belief in the Scripture, in reality God’s Word has been left behind as the thinking and behavior patterns of our culture have swamped and replaced the Bible as our authority for living with each other in the church and in our interactions with those who aren’t Christians. Too often the church is in complicit agreement with the world on priorities in life and in approach to relationships. We must read and know His Word and follow the Thessalonians’ example:
“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13
Their response to God’s Word was a clear indication of their true conversion to belief in Jesus Christ as Lord. Look at how their lives were changed by the Word of God:
“You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.”
1 Thessalonians 1:6–7
We must also obey Paul’s injunction in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “…examine everything carefully.” You cannot examine or discern truth from lies and error if you’re unaware of what God has said in His Word. Knowing God’s Word and living by it, trains you in discernment:
“For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
In the Bible God tells us who He is and who we are as He teaches us, convicts us, strengthens us, comforts us and changes us. God is making a people set apart for Himself as He is “truthing” us through His Word. God uses His Word to produce right thinking in our minds and right living in our lives.
Some daily reading assignments go rapidly through a book, while other books are taken much more slowly. Pace yourself as you need to, but keep reading. If you’ve never taken the time to read several chapters of the Bible in one sitting, I encourage you to try it. Don’t be discouraged by what you don’t know or by what you don’t understand. Come with a humble and hungry heart, and ask God to teach you and enable you to learn what you need to know right now to trust God and to obey Him.
May the Lord be with you and bless you in 2011, and may you grow in your love and knowledge of Him through the reading of His Word.
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Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter